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Editorial: Complaining is conforming

During Bible Conference, BJU students routinely heard calls from speakers to contend for the faith in their churches, in their hearts and in the world. But how can Christian young adults stand out and fight for the truth in a dark, God-hating society?

Paul gives us a hint in Philippians 2:14- 15: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

The Philippian believers lived among “crooked and perverse” people who hated the Gospel. As the conference speakers noted, these same people characterize the world Christians engage with today. Christ said, “Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. … If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:19-20).

Christians experience ridicule in a secular society for holding to the fundamental truths of the Bible when the world teaches that people can create their own truth. Some people accuse Christians of being intolerant or hypocritical. Others label us as narrowminded fools for believing the Gospel. We face pressure to conform to the world instead of remaining vigilant and contending for the faith in this environment.

Paul says that one way we stand out is by doing everything without murmuring or disputing. Other versions translate these words as grumbling and arguing (HCSB, NIV) or complaining and disputing (NKJV).

The world and the flesh give believers many reasons to complain. We complain about the busyness of life, the rules we must follow or how unjust our bosses or teachers are. Grumbling and complaining about these things may seem insignificant, especially when everyone does it, but the heart attitude Christians cultivate should look different from the world and reflect the humility and servant mindset of Christ (see Phil. 2:3-8).

Not only will this attitude make Christians stand out, but it will also make us blameless and without rebuke before a world that searches for reasons to ridicule us. The apostle Peter says that even though unbelievers accuse Christians of doing evil, the honorable and blameless life of believers will, remarkably, cause unbelievers to glorify God upon His return (1 Pet. 2:12). If we live uprightly, they will have no valid accusation to bring against us.

As we accomplish even mundane tasks this week, let us resist the urge to grumble, argue and complain. Instead, let us seek the power of the Holy Spirit to work “heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord [we] shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for [we] serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24)